June 18, 2006


"Published Posthumorously" (Jan 22, 2006)

On the whole, I've been enjoying the Italian lit class I'm taking this semester, so far. But today I started our third book, a collection of short 'stories' called All the Errors, by Giorgio Manganelli. But 'stories' is really over-stating the case since not one of the seven seems to have anything resembling a plot (or even characters, most of them)— they're more like metaphysics treatises disguised as fiction, lo-ong literary flourishes that have no point except to demonstrate what a swell intellectual the author imagines himself to be. It is postmodern drivel to a degree that Don DeLillo only aspires to. Here is an excerpt from Manganelli's 'System':

"But the Vagina! Ah, how it steeps itself in languor, how it simulates turbid and sullen fervours, how it meditates on angers and affections, gallows and hearths! Neither would nor could we say more, there being no other way to speak of it, truly nothing more to say."

I wonder, when I read works in translation that seem particularly awful, if the translator wasn't just having a bit of a laugh at the expense of the author.

[Editor's Note: This short invective against postmodernism, Italians, translations, and, of course, Don DeLillo, was discovered in the 'Drafts' section of Ladd's blog several months after his tragic death at the hands of a Scrabble tile. Although it is unclear why Ladd decided not to publish the post when he wrote it, critics speculate that it has something to do with a second uncovered manuscript in Ladd's fiction file; untitled, the short story's main character was a brooding vagina called George who restored fireplaces for a living. The manuscript breaks off halfway through, with a note in Ladd's cryptic shorthand: "!!! I plgrsed ()thg! *&$%! Manganelli! Bk t drn bd. Kw ws 2 :-) 2 be tr."

The original title of the post ('UGH.') has been preserved; however, in accordance with the term's of Ladd's will, the second title ('Published Posthumorously') was added for the piece's inclusion here.]


At 18/6/06 16:33, Anonymous Mariana said...

Sad to hear of Andrew's passing...

I suppose it's inappropriate that I'm shaking with laughter right now.


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